"Grand Mar" is pure Caladoc, a crossing of Grenache and Malbec which is particularly well-suited to the deep south of France, given its resistance to coulure (uneven flowering). Macerated briefly before pressing, it is slightly more assertive in its fruit character, with higher-pitched white cherries and a more penetrating impression of minerality on the palate. While no heavier than the "V�", it is both finer and longer, with an overall sense of poise that shames many a ros� from the C�tes de Provence.
Just ten miles due south of Arles, the Michel family stewards the lovely Mas de Val�riole, a 45-hectare estate founded in the early 15th century and purchased by the Michels in the late 1950s. Around the turn of the century, brothers Jean-Paul and Patrick Michel focused their energies on improving the estate's wines, adopting organic viticultural practices in 2006 (certified today) and refining their approach in the cellar; today, the next generation is beginning to assume greater responsibilities, and there are exciting projects in the pipeline here?
Mas de Val�riole's vineyards, which today comprise 32 of their 45 hectares, encompass a variety of soil types: sand, clay, limestone, and alluvial loam deposited by the Grand Rh�ne. A reliably steady wind blowing in from the Mediterranean mitigates the Provence heat, facilitating their chemical-free approach to farming and ensuring modest alcohol levels for the wines. Produced from a variety of c�pages, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, plus crossings like Caladoc (Grenache and Malbec) and Marselan (Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon) which are particularly well-suited to the Camargue's climate, Mas de Val�riole's wines combine the breezy freshness one expects from Provence with a sense of wildness and an underlying salinity that is very Camarguais.